32850 US-43 STE B, THOMASVILLE, AL 36784 844-229-8936 GOLDENTAXRELIEF.COM G o l d e n G a z e t t e JAN 2018 Why I Became a Tax Advisor THAT TIME I OWED THE IRS $170,000
so I agreed to become a signer on the account. That way, I could manage their payroll directly. Unbeknownst to me, this timber company had tax problems, big ones. They owed the IRS about $170,000. The call came in at 9 p.m. The timber client was on the other end of the phone, panicked. Two IRS agents had shown up on his doorstep, looking for their money. I told him to stay calm and offer the agents some refreshments. I rolled out of bed, got in my car, and drove to my client’s house. The agents wouldn’t agree to let me meet with them on my client’s behalf. So I simply sat beside my client and told him what to say. This got under one of the agent’s skin. She glared, but there was nothing she could do at the time. A few days later, she came after me personally. My phone rang. “Well, Mister Golden,” said signature on the timber accounts and said I was responsible for settling my client’s debt. She coolly listed my assets. My land, my car, my 401K, she told me I had to liquidate everything. I had 24 hours to get back to her with an answer. I’ve never been so badly shaken in my life. My wife of five years was waiting at home with our two little babies. How the voice of the revenue officer, “I’ve done some research on you.” She had found my
could I face her? How could I tell her I’d lost everything we’d worked for? I’ll admit, I cried that day. Then I got to work. I poured over every scrap of information I had on tax procedure and, at 2 a.m., I found my answer. IRS agents have to hold what’s called a 4180 interview to determine who has authority over an account. Had the officers done this, they would’ve learned I didn’t have any actual authority over the timber account. I was not responsible for the company’s tax debt, and had been unduly investigated. I made this clear to the regional director of the IRS. The agent who came after me got 30 days leave without pay. I did a lot of thinking after this experience. There I was, an accountant trained in tax law, and I’d almost been bullied into paying $170,000 I didn’t have to cover a debt I didn’t owe. How would a layperson have managed this situation?
Plenty of tax advisors or attorneys will tell you about “the how.” How they will reduce your tax debt, how they will deal with the IRS, etcetera. I don’t just have a “how,” I have a “why.” Why am I a tax advisor? Simple. I never want anyone to go through what the IRS did to me. It happened a dozen years ago. I’d just moved my young family back to Alabama when my aunt died of pancreatic cancer. She had owned a small accounting firm, whose clients were left high and dry after her sudden passing. I decided to buy the business from my uncle and took on my aunt’s old clients. My aunt had been handling the payroll of a logging company, and I began assisting them. The thing about loggers is, they’re in the woods all day. When they do come into the office, it’s to grab their paycheck and go home. Running between the forest and the office to sign off on everything was weighing on the owner,
I became a tax advisor because nobody should ever be put in that nightmare. I want to give people peace by keeping the IRS off their front porch. I want to give them protection by
“There I was, an accountant trained in tax law, and I’d almost been bullied into paying $170,000 I didn’t have to cover a debt I didn’t owe.”
knowing the IRS rules backwards and forwards. Most importantly, I want to give folks posterity by
helping them deal with their tax problems and move forward with their lives. That’s my “why.”
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Helping People Isn’t Just for Nonprofits
Sharen Murnaghan’s LinkedIn page features the line, “Always be helping.” When you look at Hubspot’s “About Us” page, you’ll notice their vision is to build a company where business is “empathetic, human, and personable.” Do these philosophies sound like they’re in alignment? She and Hubspot both believe that helping others is essential to business success, so it should come as no surprise that Murnaghan is Hubspot’s No. 1 salesperson. When two MIT graduates, Dharmesh Shah and Brian Halligan, realized that customers weren’t responding to tried- and-true marketing tactics — and that Shah’s unassuming blog was driving way more web traffic than sites with huge marketing budgets — they created Hubspot, a marketing and sales software company. Most companies were forgetting about the human element of sales. Instead of helping people, these businesses treated customers like numbers, all in the pursuit of their bottom line. So, Shah and Halligan started
a company that would do the opposite. They decided to help other businesses forge human relationships with their customers and create an “inbound world.” Before joining their company, Murnaghan had a successful sales career in the publishing world, but she was ready for something new. She had an impressive amount of sales experience but almost no knowledge of digital marketing, an industry she knew was clearly on the rise. So, “armed with nothing but a desire to learn and a willingness to work hard,” she enrolled in a digital marketing course, got a certification, and eventually found her way to Hubspot. She started in an entry-level sales position, and, after putting in 12-hour days and many more hours on continued education, she became their No. 1 salesperson. She’s held the spot ever since.
Hubspot was built on. “People don’t want to be interrupted by marketers or harassed by salespeople,” Shah and Halligan say of their empathetic approach. “They want to be helped.” Murnaghan’s interactions with customers hinged on her desire to help others, and she was determined to carry out that mission. Once, she connected a client’s daughter with friends in Canada after learning the girl was starting university there. Don’t forget about the simple act of helping people. Make this a priority above selling a good or service. As you shape and define your company’s values, hire people who exemplify them. Like Murnaghan, if they live your values, they’ll wow your clients, help grow your brand, and bring you both to the top. What lessons can we glean from Murnaghan’s and Hubspot’s success? Perhaps it’s this:
But what got her there? She found success by using the same philosophy that
Challenging the Ref
IRS Penalties Can Be Overturned
Penalty. It’s a scary word. They are the last thing you want your favorite sports team to get, let alone your tax filing. There are over 145 different IRS penalties you can run afoul of, costing you time and money. What many folks fail to realize is there are ways out of the penalty box. Abatement is a formal process in which a taxpayer can request the reduction, or even removal, of a tax penalty. Think of it as a “challenge” in the NFL. It’s an opportunity to have the referee stop and consider if they made the right call. In fact, the IRS is far more lenient than most refs. In many cases, 100 percent of penalties are removed after an abatement is requested. Unlike football, a tax penalty can be abated even when you actually broke the rules. The IRS takes extenuating circumstances, prior good behavior, and any efforts you’ve
made to fix the problem into account when deciding whether to grant penalty relief. It is important that you are honest and clear about any of these factors. A trained tax professional can help guide you through the abatement process. They can help you determine whether you have grounds to seek abatement and assist you throughout the process. Penalties carry different levels of severity, but they all need to be tackled with a deft hand. Advocating for yourself against the IRS can be confusing at best and intimidating at worst. If you or your business are struggling under tax penalties, please give Golden Tax Relief a call. We know the ins and outs of the abatement process, and we’ll work with you to come to an understanding with the IRS. We want to see those penalties resolved so you can get back to playing ball.
32850 US-43 B THOMASVILLE, AL 36784
CELEBRITY TAX FRAUD: WESLEY SNIPES Bad Tax Advice Landed Actor in Jail
HAVE A LAUGH Kahn and Rosile claimed he only had to pay taxes on foreign income. No American earning money in the United States, they argued, was legally obligated to pay taxes. A grade school civics teacher could tell you this is baloney, but Snipes lapped it right up. Clearly, he was unaware of just how When people think about tax crime, most folks picture masterminds trying to outsmart the IRS. Few realize simply neglecting to file can land you in hot water or even prison. This month’s celebrity did jail time because of his willful ignorance of the law. The only thing worse than no advice is bad advice, and Wesley Snipes had some terrible tax advisors. The Hollywood actor certainly had the money to hire the best accountants in the country, but instead, he bought the crackpot anti-tax theories of Eddie Ray Kahn and Douglas P. Rosile. Following their advice, Snipes cheated the U.S. government out of over $7 million between 1999 and 2001.
serious the penalties are for willingly skipping out on your taxes.
The IRS went after Mr. Snipes with the full weight of a federal prosecution team. Snipes and his lawyer tried to make amends, offering the judge three separate checks totaling $3.3 million as a down payment on his taxes. The actor even gave a 10-minute speech about how sorry he was. But it was too little, too late. Snipes was sentenced to three years in prison and had to pay $17 million in back taxes. While he served the tail end of his sentence under house arrest, the Hollywood star did actual jail time. It just goes to show that no matter who you are, the IRS can and will get their money. Ignorance is not an excuse. If someone’s giving you tax advice that sounds too good to be true, chances are it probably is.
SLOW COOKER RASPBERRYWHITE HOT CHOCOLATE
There’s nothing like curling up under a blanket with a warm mug and a novel that finally came out in paperback. Break out the slow cooker and let the sweet aroma waft through your living room as your start Chapter 1.
• • • • •
1 cup white chocolate chips
14 ounces sweetened condensed milk 2 cups heavy cream, divided 3 cups milk (any variety will do) 2 tablespoons powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 tablespoons raspberry liqueur or syrup
1. In a slow cooker, combine white chocolate chips, condensed milk, 1 cup cream, and milk. Cover and heat on low about 2 hours. 2. In a large bowl, mix remaining 1 cup cream, powdered sugar, and vanilla.
3. Using a hand or stand mixer, whip until stiff peaks form. 4. Serve mugs of hot chocolate with about 1 tablespoon of raspberry liqueur or syrup to taste and a dollop of whipped cream.
(Recipe inspired by SlowCookerGourmet.net.)
32850 US-43 STE B THOMASVILLE, AL 36784 844-229-8936 GOLDENTAXRELIEF.COM
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page 1 My IRS Horror Story page 2 The Secret Behind Hubspot’s No. 1 Salesperson IRS Penalties Aren’t Written in Stone page 3 Why Wesley Snipes Did Jail Time page 4 Bleeding-Edge Tech for 2018 New Year, New Tech! INSIDE
3 OF 2018’S MOST FUTURISTIC GADGETS
Along with a collection of short-lived resolutions, each new year brings a staggering array of wild technology. Here are a few of the coolest new gadgets predicted to hit the scene in 2018. A MICROWAVE THAT DOUBLES AS A FLASH FRIDGE For a couple of years now, the Spanish- Korean company Frigondas has been developing a microwave that, in addition to perfectly warming up your leftovers, comes equipped with the ability to rapidly cool down foods. Not only can you use it to freeze fresh foods for later use, but you can toss a beer inside and let it chill in just a couple of minutes. A ‘HYBRID REALITY ENVIRONMENT’ FROM SCIENCE FICTION Composed of 72 LCD panels, a 20-speaker immersive surround sound system, and an optical motion tracking system powered by 10 separate cameras, Cave2 is half virtual reality, half insanely futuristic whiteboard. After donning a pair of 3-D
glasses, users, namely scientists and engineers, can fully immerse themselves in whatever they want, whether it’s a visualization of data that describes our solar system or, as exhibited in a recent demonstration, a model of Chicago, complete with real-time crime data. A TV THAT GENERATES SOUND WITH ITS SCREEN Yeah, yeah — another new, bigger, shinier TV. Big deal, right? At first glance, Sony’s new 65-inch Bravia A1E television looks just like another high-end display among many. 4K resolution, HDR technology, and OLED display round out the catchwords that come standard on TV ads these days. But one look at the massive TV reveals this is a bit of a different beast than its competition. Instead of mounting on the wall or sitting an ordinary vertical television stand, the new Bravia TV comes equipped with a stand that leans directly on the floor. There’s no visible stand or border. The
processor and other essential components are all housed in its back unit. But what’s really interesting about this TV is the way it generates sound. Examining the unit, you’ll discover there’s not a single speaker to be found. Instead, Sony’s equipped the screen itself with four actuators that turn the entire screen into a sound-emitting device — a new technology called “Acoustic Surface.”
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